MPs clash over phone tapping case

MPs clash over phone tapping case

Party lawmakers clashed during an extraordinary session of the Greek Parliament’s Committee on Institutions and Transparency on Friday which discussed the complaint filed on Tuesday with the Supreme Court Prosecutor’s Office by socialist opposition PASOK party leader Nikos Androulakis over an attempt to tap his mobile phone using the surveillance spyware Predator.

He was informed of the bugging by a cybersecurity service provided by the European Parliament.

Speaking at the House committee, PASOK-KINAL lawmaker Haris Kastanidis said that three incidents have been recorded regarding illegal surveillance – the attempted hacking of Androulakis’ phone, as well as those targeting the Communist Party (KKE) and the journalist Thanasis Koukakis – and that no answers have been provided. 

He added that since the government says it did not buy the software, then it is probably private individuals. Answers must be given, he said, by the National Intelligence Service (EYP) as to how these individuals procured the very expensive software.

For his part, the head of EYP, Panagiotis Kontoleon, stressed that there were 15,700 cases this year in which telephone privacy was lifted. He noted that this number was a 40% reduction compared to 2021. Kontoleon also underscored that in France the lifting of privacy is done by an independent authority and in the UK it is ordered by the Home Office. In Greece, he stressed, it is done by the prosecutor, which demonstrates greater stringency in the safeguarding of security.

Androulakis made it clear on Friday that he and his party will continue to press the issue regarding the attempted installation of surveillance software on his mobile phone and will not stop until they get concrete and clear answers from the people in charge.

At the end of the meeting, Kontoleon reportedly said EYP had legally complied with a request from a foreign secret service, which was attributed by many of those present to relate to the monitoring by the EYP of journalist Thanasis Koukakis, which is already the subject of a prosecutor’s investigation. However, EYP sources subsequently underlined that Kontoleon did not refer to any specific case.

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